Orinj Getting started

Orinj version 5.0.0

The following is a tutorial for those not familiar with Orinj. If you have already used Orinj or similar software, you do not need this tutorial.

This tutorial will help you record a simple song. You will play the guitar, sing the vocals, and use Orinj to create drum and bass tracks.

This tutorial assumes that you have already started Orinj.

Start using Orinj

When you start Orinj for the first time, set up some preferences.

  • Set up a directory to store temporary files. Sound files, such as wave files, use a lot of data and are not stored on your hard drive and not in memory. If you change these files, Orinj keeps both the original file and the newly created file on your hard drive. When Orinj records waves, these waves are automatically written to the hard drive.
  • Some sound files created with Orinj are temporary and will be removed when you exit Orinj. Also, most will be stored next to the original wave or next to your session file. For others, you should specify a general folder.
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  • Click on Preferences and then on Directories in the Orinj menu to specify a folder.
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  • Check your buffers. You cannot know immediately what buffer sizes are appropriate, but you should know how to change them.
  • The size of the buffer is the amount of data that Orinj reads from the hard drive or writes to the hard drive at one time. With larger buffers, there are fewer attempts to access the hard drive, which makes Orinj faster. However, larger buffers would also make Orinj respond more slowly to your commands. For example, when you stop playback, you may have to wait for the current buffer to be processed, before playback actually stops.
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  • The number of buffers used is not as important as the size of buffers. With the current design of Orinj, a larger number of buffers only helps at the beginning of playback, where there is extra processing. It allows processing to settle and playback to proceed.
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  • As you record and play, choose a size that is small enough so that Orinj is responsive, but not too small to make Orinj slow.
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  • Click on Preferences and then on Buffers in the Orinj menu.
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  • Most importantly, check your devices and the latency of the recording device. Orinj does not use ASIO and certain recording devices cannot process playback and recording fast and simultaneously without ASIO. Others cannot even with ASIO. The recorded signal could be delayed. You should measure the amount of delay (latency) and specify it, so that this delay no longer shows up in your recording.
  • Click on Preferences and then on Device Properties. You will see your output and input devices and the type of sound data these devices can handle (see Orinj Known issues for more information on bit resolutions). Click on the Input tab. Note the Latency control at the bottom.
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  • The best thing to do is to play a click track and either record the same click track playback or record your attempt to replicate the click with some instrument (the steps to importing click wave and recording are described below). After recording, zoom into the view. The delay between the original track and the new recording is the latency. Enter that latency in the Device Properties dialog, Input tab, and click OK.

Build a drum loop

You will begin by building a simple drum loop. This loop will be used to create your drum track. It is useful to create the drum track first. It will serve as your metronome or "click track" and will help you play on time when recording.

If you want an actual click track and not a drum track, follow these same steps below, but use a click sound, rather than a drum sound. In other words, use something that is more pronounced. When listening to the drums and recording, a pronounced click sound is less likely to be lost in the background.

To build a drum loop:

  1. Switch to the Orinj loop building view. Click on the loop building view button (Loop building view button) in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
  2. Open the file "blues simple 01.klp". Click on File and then on Open in the menu at the top of Orinj and browse to the "loops" directory in your installation. If, for example, you installed Orinj in "c:\Program Files", the "loops" directory will be "c:\Program Files\orinj\loops". If this is the first time you are opening a loop file, the Open dialog should default to that directory. Double-click on the "blues simple 01.klp" file to open it. You should see hits added to the first few tracks of the loop building view. (Tip: Files with the extension "klp" contain information that Orinj uses to play loops. You have a few of those files provided to you with the installation of Orinj.)
  3. Select an output device (sound card) that will play the file. Click on Loop and then on Output Device in the Orinj menu. You will see all available sound devices. Select a sound device and click OK. (Tip: The Primary Sound Driver in the list of your devices is the default device selected in your operating system).
  4. Play the file to see what it sounds like. Click on the Play Loop button (Play loop button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. When you are done listening to the playback, click on the Stop button (Stop button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
  5. Mix the loop into a wave file so that you can use it in your song. Click on Loop and then on Mix in the Orinj menu. You will get the Loop Mix Properties dialog shown in the picture below.
  6. Loop Mix Properties dialog

    Leave the sampling rate at 44.1 KHz and the sampling resolution at 16-bit. These are the sampling rate and resolution that you will use in your session later, in this example. You want the loop wave file that you create to have the same sampling rate and resolution.

    By default, you should also see the "Wrap remainder" option chosen. Leave that option as it is as well. This loop will be repeated over and over in your song and you will want any sound that extends over the end of the beat to be wrapped around over its beginning. This way, the second loop will start with the end of the first loop and so on. This option is especially important for loops that contain open hi hats, crashes, rides, or toms, all of which have longer sounds and may extend over the end of the loop.

    Click OK in the Loop Mix Properties dialog. You should see a quick a progress bar after which Orinj will switch to its single wave view. The mixed wave file will be displayed in this view.

    In Orinj version 4 and higher versions, you can insert a loop file directly into your session. You do not have to mix this file to a wave file.

  7. Save the mixed wave file. Click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. Browse to where you want to save the file, give it a name (for example, "basic drum.wav"), and click Save.

In this example, you used one of the default drum loops that was provided with the installation of Orinj. You can also create your own drum loops or modify the default drum loops to suit your needs. You can speed up or slow down the loop, add hits and instruments, or create fills rather than have the same drum beat throughout the whole song.

Start a new session and build a drum track

To start a new session and build a drum track:

  1. Switch to the Orinj multitrack view. Click on the multitrack session view button (Multitrack session view button) in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.

  2. You will already have a blank recording session. You will see empty tracks. If you want to start a new session in any case, click on File and on New in the Orinj menu. You will see the Audio Format dialog below, which will prompt you to select the audio format of your session. Use 44.1 KHz and 16-bit and click OK.

    Audio Format dialog
  3. Save your new session. Click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. Browse to where you want to save your session (probably the same place where you saved your drum wave file), give it a name (for example, "my session.kal"), and click on Save.
  4. Insert the drum wave file into your session. First, choose a track (say, the first track). In the track control panel to the left of the track, type a name for your track. Type, for example, "drums". The track control panel is shown in the picture below. Type "drums" in the place of "Track 1".

    Track control panel in the multitrack session

    The track, in which you typed "drums", should now be selected. It will be lighter in color than the rest of the tracks.
  5. Choose where in that track to insert the file. The wave file will be inserted next to the play cursor (the vertical yellow line). Click on the rewind to start button (Rewind to start button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. This will move the play cursor to the very beginning of the tracks.
  6. Insert the drum wave file in your session. Click on Track and then on Insert From File in the Orinj menu. Browse to where you saved your drum wave file and double-click on that file (on "basic drum.wav"). The wave will be inserted in your session. The file will appear at the very beginning of the track labeled "drums".
  7. A single drum loop is not enough for the whole song or even a full measure. Repeat this drum loop. Click on the wave to select it. The wave will become lighter in color. Click on Block and then on Loop in the Orinj menu. In the Loop dialog, select how many times the wave should be looped (say, 15), and click OK. The drum loop will be repeated to create a longer drum track.

    Tip: In 12-bar blues we may have 12 of these drum loops. You may also want to leave a couple of drum loops at the beginning of the song so that when you start recording you get used to the timing before playing. In this case, you will need more that 12 loops.

  8. Save your session. Click on File and then on Save in the Orinj menu.

You should now have a drum track created from a single existing drum loop. This drum track will obviously play the same thing throughout the whole track, which may be fine for demo purposes, but may get boring in your final song. You can change your drum loops and you can insert different drum loops in different places in the song.

Create a bass line

You can record the bass (see how to record a guitar below) or you can use the MIDI functionality of Orinj to create a bass line.

  1. Switch to the Orinj MIDI roll view. Click on the view MIDI roll button (MIDI roll view button) in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
  2. Open the file "bass blues A min var 1.mid". This file can be found in the "midi" directory of the installation of Orinj. If, for example, you installed Orinj in "C:\Program Files", the file will be in the directory "c:\Program Files\orinj\midi". Click on File and then on Open in the Orinj menu. Browse to the "midi" directory, find the file "bass blues A min Var 1.mid" and double-click on it.
  3. Play the file to see what it sounds like. Click on the play button (Play button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. To stop playback, click on the stop button (Stop button) in the same player toolbar or wait for the playback to reach the end of the file.
  4. You will need to convert this MIDI file to a wave file so that it can be used in your song. The steps here describe how to play the file and record it at the same time.

    (You can also simply convert the MIDI file into a wave file or insert the MIDI file directly into your session. In both cases, however, you will need a synthesizer base specified in your preferences. See Orinj Working with MIDI files for more information).

    First, choose the appropriate input and output sound devices. To choose an input device for recording, click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Input Device in the Orinj menu. Select the appropriate input device in the dialog that pops up and click OK.

    In this version of Orinj, you cannot select a MIDI output device through Orinj, but you can do so through the operating system. Make sure that the default sound device for playing MIDI files in your operating system is the one that you want.

  5. Connect your output to your input device. Run a cable from the output to the input that you selected in the previous step. The input and output can come from the same device, as contemporary soundcards are usually designed to allow simultaneous playback and recording.
  6. Select the wave format of the wave to be recorded. Click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Wave Format in the Orinj menu. You will see the Audio Format dialog. You would want to record to a wave file with the same format as your session so the sampling rate of the wave file should be 44.1 KHZ and the bit resolution should be 16-bit. Click on OK in the dialog when you are done.
  7. Record the MIDI file into a wave file. Click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Record in the Orinj menu. The file will be played and recorded while playing. As your output is connected to an input, you will most likely not here anything. Wait until playback stops. The newly recorded wave file will be displayed in the Orinj single wave view.
  8. Save the newly recorded wave. In the Orinj single wave view, click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. In the Save dialog that pops up, browse to the same directory, in which you saved your session and drum wave file, type a name for your new file, such as "bass.wav", and click on Save.
  9. Add the bass line to your song. First, switch to the Orinj multitrack view. Click on the view multitrack recorder button (Multitrack session view button) in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
  10. Choose a track. For example, type "bass" as the name of the second track. The second track should now be selected.
  11. Choose where to insert the bass wave. You could insert the wave right at the beginning, but then you will have no time to get used to the tempo of the song when recording other instruments. It is better to leave a few drum loops before the bass starts. Those first drum loops will be a metronome that starts before the actual song and gives you the rhythm of the song before you start playing.

    Click on the second track (the "bass" track) close to where the second drum loop ends and the third one begins. The play cursor (the yellow vertical line) will move to that place and the wave that you insert will start at that place. Orinj "snaps" the play cursor by default to the beginning or end of a wave and, if you click close enough, Orinj will be sure to set the play cursor exactly at the beginning or end of a wave.

    Tip: Orinj should look something like the one in the following picture:

    An example Orinj session

    Tip: See Orinj Preferences to learn more about setting your snap options.
  12. Click on Track and then on Insert From File in the Orinj menu. Find the wave called "bass.wav" and double-click on it. The wave will be inserted in your session.
  13. Save the changes to your session. Click on File and then on Save in the Orinj menu.

The newly inserted bass wave covers only one measure of your song. If you want this bass line to be repeated for more measures, you can loop it as you did with the drums in the previous section of this tutorial. Also, you can modify your bass line or create a new one. To learn more about using the MIDI roll view to create new MIDI files and to modify the existing ones, see Orinj Working with MIDI files and Orinj Working with MIDI notes and controls.

One of the known issues for Orinj is that MIDI playback and wave recording are not synchronized. This is due to deficiencies in the programming language used to develop Orinj. The wave recording may start earlier than the MIDI playback, making the recorded wave file longer than it needs to be. You can remedy that by doing one of two things. You can move the bass file in your song to properly fit it in the song or you can cut it to the right length. In both cases, you should probably zoom in sufficiently to ensure that you are precise. See Orinj Working with session blocks.

The drum loops and MIDI bass line in the Orinj installation were created so that they have the same tempo (1.5 sec per quarter note). If you are creating a drum loop or a MIDI file from scratch, you may have to adjust their tempos to ensure that tempos match.

Record your rhythm guitar and vocals

By this point of the tutorial, you should have a drum and a bass track. You will record a guitar and a vocal track. You should still be looking at the Orinj multitrack session. If you are not, click on the view multitrack session view button (Multitrack session view button) in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.

  1. Select a track for recording. Type "guitar" as the name of the third track in the track control panel to the left of the track. The track will become selected and will be lighter in color than the rest of the tracks. Then click on the record button (Record button) in the track control panel for the same track. This button will become pressed down, which means that this track is selected for recording. (Tip: You can select more than one track for recording if you have more than one input devices or if you want to record the left and right channels separately.)
  2. Make sure that recording starts at the very beginning of the track. Click on the rewind to start button (Rewind to start button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. The play cursor (the vertical yellow line) will move to the start of your session.
  3. Select the proper output device for playback as you will want to listen to the drums and bass while playing the guitar. Above, you selected the output device for playing loops and the output device for playing MIDI files. Orinj treats these independently from the output device for your session, so check that the proper output for playing the session has been selected. Click on Session and then on Output Device in the Orinj menu. In the Output Device dialog that pops up, select a device and click OK.
  4. Select an input device for recording. The input device that a track records from is specific to that track, unlike the output device that you selected in the previous step, which was the same for all tracks in the session. Click on the input device button (Input device button) in the track control panel to the left of the track. In the Input Device dialog that pops up, pick the input device that you want. Also, choose whether you want to record a stereo wave or a mono wave from the left or the right channel. Which one you should pick depends on your setup.

    Often, you will plug your electric guitar into an amplifier and take the output of that amplifier into your soundcard. You will need to record only one channel to a mono wave. In this setup, if you recorded a stereo wave, both channels will be the same or only one channel will actually pick up something.

    In another setup, you could mike your amplifier and use more than one mike – one close to the amplifier and another one to pick up the room ambiance. If you record those separately in the two channels of a stereo wave, you can then adjust the balance between the two. There are no set rules for recording anything and you should choose what sounds good. For this tutorial, assume that we want a mono wave of the guitar, left channel only.

    Click on Left, then check All Tracks, and click OK. You chose All Tracks so that the same change is made for all tracks and you will not have to do this step if you record in other tracks (unless your setup changes).

    Tip: If you mike your amplifier make sure that your playback goes to your headphones and not to some speakers to avoid feedback.

    Tip: If you want to record two mikes, it is probably better to send them to two separate tracks rather than to a single stereo track. It will be easier to control them later. If you record one stereo track, you can always split it later into two mono tracks.

  5. Connect your equipment. How you do that depends on what equipment you have. With the right setup, you should be able to see the wave drawn on the screen. You should also see the VU meter for the track move to measure the incoming signal. At the end of the recording, you should be able to play the wave back and listen to it. If you get no signal coming in, you can stop the recording, delete the recorded wave, check your equipment, and start over again (see the notes below).

    A VU meter is shown here.

    VU meter

    There is one for each track in the multitrack session view.

  6. Start recording. Click on the record button (Record button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. Orinj will start simultaneous playback and recording.
  7. When you are finished recording, stop playback and recording by clicking on the stop button (Stop button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
  8. Unclick the record button (Record button) in the track control panel to the left of the track, in which you recorded. When you do so, the recorded track will become orange from red. You should unclick this button when you are done recording so that you do not accidentally start recording in this track later.
  9. You should now be able to play your recording. Click on the play button (Play button) in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. When you are done listening to your recording, click on the stop button (Stop button) in the same player toolbar.
  10. Save your session. Click on File and on Save in the Orinj menu. This saves your session. The actual wave that you just recorded is already on your hard drive as Orinj records directly to the hard drive. You do not need to do anything else to save that file.

Suppose that you make a mistake during recording and you want to remove the recorded wave from your song. Click on the recorded wave to select it. When the wave is selected, it will become lighter in color. Then click on Block and then on Cut or on Destroy in the Orinj menu. If you click on Cut, the wave file will remain in the directory where your session was saved (even though it will not be used in the song). If you click on Destroy, this wave file will be deleted.

If you want to play only the recorded wave without the bass and the drums, click on the solo button (Solo button) in the track control panel to the left of the track. If you want to remove the soloing, click on this button again.

Vocals can be recorded in the same way. Repeat the steps above on another track and you can record your vocals and any other instruments. If, at some point, you record an actual bass rather than the MIDI bass, you can mute the MIDI bass by clicking on the mute button (Mute button) in the track control panel to the left of the MIDI bass track.

Mix your song

Before you mix the song, you may want to adjust volumes and pan, add effects, and otherwise change the mix.

In the multitrack session view, you can mix your song by clicking on Session and then on Mix To File in the Orinj menu. After mixing your song, Orinj will switch to the single wave view, where your mix will be displayed. There, you can save your mix, add effects to it, or otherwise change it.

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